SIMON King enjoyed the pro test posed by Portsmouth.
The Thurrock centre half, and former pro, believes his side gave a good account of themselves on a warm, sunny evening at Ship Lane.
A strong Pompey squad eventually beat Mark Stimson’s Thurrock 2-0, with Craig Westcarr bagging a quick-fire brace.
But part time Fleet put in a dogged display against their full time, pro visitors.
They were undone by Westcarr’s half volley from 18 yards, which opened the scoring on 33 minutes. Then six minutes later, the tricky forward dinked in from the left before curling the ball past Andy Walker to double the score.
And while Fleet barely threatened the League Two side’s goal, centre-half King, 31, was pleased with the run out.
“You want to test your wits against these clubs,” he said afterwards. “Portsmouth are a huge club with great tradition and it’s brilliant that they came down here.
“I think we gave a good account of ourselves. But first and foremost it’s a great workout to test yourself against these pro clubs, being as though they train every day and their fitness and sharpness is going to be better and that does make a big difference, especially when you think half the [Thurrock] boys have been at work all day.
He added: “We’re getting there though. There’s a good vibe around the club this year. It’s all looking good at the minute.”
Thurrock face AFC Hornchurch, Ebbsfleet Town and Herne Bay in friendlies before the league season starts with a trip to Brentwood Town on Saturday, August 9.
King, who made more than 250 appearances for Barnet and Gillingham, is confident that Fleet can again contest for a play-off place and ultimately emulate the sixth place finish achieved last season.
He said: “Last year we had that terrible weather with a lot of games called off and that really did take its toll and we had a few injuries. But we’ve learnt from that and know what we’ve got to do this season.”